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Finding the Appropriate Indoor or Outdoor Cage for Your Cat (Photographic Guide)
I know the caging of cats is not something most people consider but there are lots of reasons why cats should be caged at different points in their life, as mentioned in my previous article: Caging Cats: When and Why it's Sometimes Necessary. Of course since there are so many reasons for caging cats there also needs to be a large selection of cages to choose from to suit your own needs. Over the years there have been surprisingly few cage companies that cater specifically to the needs of felines so it might help to have a guide to finding appropriate cages which may not be marketed for cats. Below I hope to provide a good resource for anyone in the market for a kitty cage.
Small One-Level Cages
Small one-level cages can be used for a honeymoon suite for breeding pairs, for litter box training, for intensive feral taming programs, etc. These cages come in a number of varieties.
This is a collapsible cage that folds up when not in use. It's marketed as a dog crate but works well for the temporary caging of single cats in the 36 inch variety which sells on www.revivalanimal.com for $62.99. The 42 inch cage is good for temporary caging of a pair of cats or a mother and young kittens. They sell at the same site for $79.99. Besides being completely collapsible this crate is great because of the slide out plastic tray allows for easy cleaning, the two doors make for easy access, and the free divider can also be used as a shelf to make this cage a two level when needed.
Of course one-level cages (whether they be dog crates or otherwise) come in all varieties and price tags. This one has got to be one of the most beautiful an most expensive I have ever seen! This is a mahogany dog crate that sells at www.pet-super-store.com for a jaw-dropping $795! I've never tried a wooden crate for felines before so this might be a dreadfully expensive experiment! Still, it's an option...
Multi-level cages are great for the temporay caging of multiple cats or for cagng for single docile kitties. These are great quarantine and home introduction cages. They also are fantastic holding pens before moves, trips to the vet, or to hold cats during gatherings (when you don't want visitors to accidentally let them outside.) They come in all varieties and these are about the only cages you'll find that are actually labelled for cats. Some are collapsible, some are not. Some are also better looking then others. All serve their purpose well. For the penny-pincher you can find an assortment of multi-leveled cat cages at www.martinscages.com that range in price from $68-286 and come in galvanized (standard wire) and powder-coated (easier to clean.)
Below is a Kitty Hotel (C-460) made and sold by Martin's Cages for $160 (galvanized) or $225 (powder coated.) I used this cage to nurse five sphynx back back to health that had been left to die by a really bad kitten/puppy mill. They had gotten coccidia and stopped producing marketable kittens (because they all had violent diarreah!) so they were put 5-9 cats per tiny one-level rabbit cage and were put in a shed in the middle of winter! Anyway, as far as the cage goes I was happy with it and so were the cats. I took out the rugs and put blankets in their place that I'd wash whenever they got dirty. Depending on the cats involved this cage could be appropriate for 1-5, thogh I admit five is pushing it (the sphynxes benefitted more from not being separated then they would have if I had them separated into two cages so use common sense when figuring out your situation.) The one pictured is coated.
This is a Perve Jumbo Ferret Cage sold by PetSmart for $219.99. It's easy to clean but does not have a slide out tray.
This is the Kitty Condo 345 sold by www.ultraliteproducts.com for $519. I choose this to show that some cat cages are actually enclosures you can walk into. The benefit of these particular cages is that they are really light weight and can be moved around easy. They're also supposed to be durable to to outdoor conditions so they can be either indoor or outdoor cages. The company makes cages that are smaller or larger depending what you are looking for. Price tages range from $409.95-1,129.95. Be careful though because not all of these are single cages, some of them are a set of cages that stack up to look like one.
This is a very popular cat cage that has shelves that detach and can be put in different positios around the cage. You can even split the cage into two using the shelves. There are two large doors for easy access and a plastic slide out try. I've used these cages and they are lovely. This one doesn't look collapsible but there are cages that look suspiciously similar that are... This model can be found at www.bargainpetstuff.com for $143.33.
PetPro Kennels (www.petprokennelstore.com) is relatively new to the caging market. This particular model is one of the smallest for $640. The appeal of these cages comes from the fact they come in panels which can be periodically added to the cage to make it bigger... potentially bigger then even your own house if you choose to keep building! They can also be constructed to be tall or to be short and long. They're easy to assemble and disassemble and can be made into separate units, one large cage, or even an outdoor run as they are durable enough.
The Midwest Ferret Nation is a really nice quaility cage for practically pennies. It costs $99.99 on www.revivalanimal.com It's much like a California King parrot cage (material wise.) It's very heavy, very durable, and easy to clean. However it does not have solid floors so rugs or blankets are needed on all the surfaces.
Diagnostic cages can be the same as single-level cages unless urine collection is part of the reason you need it. For urine collection I recommend the Wabbitat cages. Yes, they're very small, but the cat likely won't be in it for more than a day. The bottom is grated and it has a slide out plastic tray that will make urine collection very easy (this is only if the empty litter box trick doesn't work!) This is handy if you need to test the cat's urine PH level (for diabetes) or to check for blood, crystals, or odd coloration. Why pay more than $100 to have the cat stay at the vet for a urine collection (which is done the same way!) The cage also has two doors for easy access, is collapsible, and be be covered to make a cheap cubby for the cats to hide in. They cost $51.00 at www.rabbitmart.com
Outdoor runs come in all shapes and sizes. They're also a reletively new idea and hence don't come in as many varieties as some feline fanciers would like! Still, everything has to start somewhere...
Habitat Haven (http://habitathaven.com) now offers kits to build your own outdoor habitat. Not only do they have traditional caging but also tunnels that can link cages together or just wrap around the yard like a kitty train track! Below is a photo of one customer's creation. They offer a catalogue at their site.
Kitty Walk Systems (www.kittywalksystems.com) now offers outdoor cat tunnels, cat strollers, and the ever popular Town and Country outdoor cage see below (priced at $297.95) Not suggested for cats that like to claw through mesh or fabric.
The expanding cat cages are good for outdoor use as well as indoor, particularly when enough panels are bought. To make a super safe escape proof enclosure make sure to put a concrete slab down for the floor so they can't tunnel their way out (dirt and grass can be put on top of the concrete if that's what you wish!) https://www.kittywalk.com/town_country.asp
Outdoor aviaries, such as this $6,558.95 model sold by www.cagesbydesign.com can be another idea for a cat cage. A few cat trees would work lovely in this cage! Plus the solid bottom make sure any little houdinis don't make their great escape!
DIY Outdoor Runs
I have always been fascinated by this one particular cattery's outdoor runs. Here is Teja Cat's home-made outdoor runs which if you're handy you to can make with the instructions seen here: http://www.tejascats.com/Cattery/cattery_construction.htm
DIY Indoor Cages
Teja Cats also has a lovely instruction page for some nice indoor cat cages seen here: http://www.tejascats.com/Cattery/inside_runs.htm
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